Variety Review LOIP

So far we’ve had a lot of mini reviews, some of which are barely brief opinions. Now Variety are here with the first full review, which also happens to be the most positive one yet. Here are some sexcerpts:

Natalie Portman delivers an utterly fearless performance in “Love and Other Impossible Pursuits,” playing a bitter, borderline unlikable Manhattan home-wrecker subsumed by grief over the death of her infant daughter. As in his three earlier features, writer-director Don Roos (“Happy Endings”) relishes true-to-life emotional complications, to the point of sacrificing both narrative cleanliness and universal appeal. Unsparing in its microscopic inspection of damaged characters, including Lisa Kudrow’s comically angry wronged wife, “Love” tests the limits of a viewer’s tolerance for pain and should garner significant respect from those who like their upscale melodrama on the lacerating side.

In her strongest screen work since “Closer,” Portman, appearing in every scene, often a touch disheveled, dares to inhabit a character who’s more comfortable expressing resentment than love, and who seems temperamentally incapable of achieving grace even or especially when she tries for it. Portman’s decision to show us tiny glimpses of Emilia’s yearning for acceptance by those around her, harmful though it may be, is what tips the scale on the character, making her ever so slightly redeemable to both Roos and the viewer.

In his screenplay, adapted from a novel by Ayelet Waldman, Roos walks a tightrope between commercial obligation and emotional realism, favoring the latter.

Across the board, tech credits are exceptional. The widescreen lensing of d.p. Steve Yedlin (“The Brothers Bloom”) makes the moneyed Upper East and West Sides look both attractive and somewhat oppressive, in keeping with the film’s implicit critique of the characters’ privileged lifestyle. Editor David Codron achieves the maximum poignancy from Roos’s then-and-now structure, while pop songs by the likes of Belle and Sebastian and the Flaming Lips accentuate the movie’s pervasive sense of melancholy.

Really great to have such a positive review, especially coming from Variety. Gives me a bit of hope that this might actually work for me in a big way. I’m sure I’m not alone.